Wednesday, May 16, 2007

California Coast & Ocean Story on Toll Road

California Coast & Ocean provides a very thorough article on Trestles, San Onofre and the threats from the toll road.

Driving north from San Diego along the coast on Interstate 5, a traveler passes mile after mile of houses, malls, businesses, and roadways. Every now and then you glimpse the ocean off in the distance or see a grassy hillside, but otherwise you are confined to a virtual corridor of development.

Then suddenly, just north of Oceanside, the landscape opens up. To the west is the ocean, while to the east flatlands and rolling hills covered with coastal sage scrub extend as far as the eye can see, with only here and there a building or a road. Along this stretch of highway you might actually spot a hawk circling overhead, hunting for its meal among the abundant little critters in the underbrush, or perched atop a telephone pole. This is coastal southern California as it used to look before sprawl took over, and it's still here because you're in Camp Pendleton. Like many military reservations in California, this 125,000-acre Marine Corps base, owned by the Department of the Navy, contains some of the last wild land in its region; this area would likely have been developed years ago if not for the base. San Mateo Creek, one of the last coastal streams in southern California that has no dams or other man-made barriers, flows from its headwaters in the Cleveland National Forest through Camp Pendleton to meet the ocean. Southern steelhead were thought to be extinct south of Malibu Creek until they were found in San Mateo Creek in 1999.

Lots more at the site...

Friday, May 11, 2007

Cool Video by Bob Torrez

Bob created this short film as part of the International Documentary Challenge 2007. "I had 5 days to come up with a project, shoot, edit,
make music and complete a dvd ready for broadcast, I did not win but it was a great
challenge for a good cause and I met some great people on the way."

Big News Today!!

Late Wednesday night the House Armed Services Committee passed an amendment to the National Defense Act that included language which now forces the TCA to comply with the same California state laws as other developers in obtaining approval to construct the proposed toll road. The amendment, which was submitted by Rep. Susan Davis of San Diego and supported by Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Orange County, was needed to counter several exemptions from state and federal environmental laws which the TCA had secretively garnered over the past several years.

"With these exemptions, the TCA thought they had a trump card in their back pocket, which they could have used to avoid full compliance with environmental laws," said Surfrider Foundation Assistant Environmental Director, Mark Rauscher. "This vote is a victory for protecting park lands everywhere and upholding state laws."

Surfrider Foundation and its partners applaud Davis' efforts to level the playing field and we encourage you to let her know your appreciation by sending her a note by clicking here.

In other good news word came down late Thursday morning that the California District Court of Appeals had sided with the Surfrider Foundation and other environmental organizations and ruled that a suit filed by the Save Trestles/San Onofre coalition against the TCA for violating the California Environmental Quality Act must be heard in San Diego County (the TCA of course wanted the case to be tried in Orange County).

"The ruling by the 4th District Court of Appeals is a clear sign that this issue impacts more than just the residents of South Orange County," said Surfrider Foundation's Matt McClain. "If completed as planned, this toll road project will have direct and adverse impact on San Diegans, and very likely destroy precious resources that belong to the public at large."

While these two decisions do not yet represent the final nail in the coffin for the proposed toll road extension, they are two big steps towards that direction!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Some Good News and Some Bad News

First, this past weekend the CA Democratic Party passed a resolution opposing the toll road through San Onofre State Beach!! This is huge and sets the stage going forward in Sacramento and DC. More details on this later..

CA Assemblymember Huffman from Marin attempted to move a bill that would limit the construction of roads through state parks throughout California. Makes sense right? Well the labor unions came out strong against this saying it would cut into their jobs. Huffman didn't think he had the votes so he pulled the bill and will bring it back at a later date. Here's an article on AB 1457